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Movie Director Injured By Bomb; Police Blame Muslim Extremists

July 10, 1995 GMT

MADRAS, India (AP) _ A director whose latest film angered Muslims by portraying religiuos violence and a Hindu-Muslim romance was wounded Monday by attackers who threw two homemade bombs at his house.

Mani Ratnam was hospitalized with shrapnel injuries in his leg, the director’s brother, G. Venkateswaran, told the Press Trust of India news agency. A maid also was injured.

The attackers threw the crude but powerful bombs as Ratnam sipped his morning coffee on a patio outside his two-story home in Madras, about 1,100 miles south of New Delhi, police said.

``Mani is a bit shaken, but he is all right,″ said the director’s wife, actress Suhasini Mani Ratnam, who was inside the house at the time of the attack.

A watchman spotted the attackers as they prepared to throw a third bomb, said police officer R.N. Sawani. The men dropped the bomb and fled in a motorized rickshaw, waving a revolver to prevent anyone from chasing them, Sawani said.

No one claimed responsibility, but police suspect a radical Muslim group, Al-Umah, which has attacked Hindu leaders in Madras.

In August 1993, the group set off a bomb in the office of a Hindu extremist organization, killing 11 people. Last September, the group was accused of killing a local Hindu activist.

Ratnam’s movie ``Bombay″ was controversial even before its release this year because it depicted Hindu-Muslim riots that killed 800 people in Bombay in 1993. It focuses on a romance between a Hindu man and a Muslim woman.

Officials worried that the depiction of hostilities between India’s 750 million Hindus and 120 million Muslims could incite more violence. Censors cut parts of the movie after protests by both Muslim and Hindu groups.

It also was banned in many Indian states that have large Muslim populations after Islamic groups complained that it showed the hero staring at the Muslim woman with her veil lifted.